Largest Returning Fishing Gear Trade Show in Orlando

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Reunited, and it feels good.

You will have to forgive many players in the fishing industry when they start singing the catchy chorus to Peaches and Herb’s song “Reunited” in July.

This year’s International Convention of Allied Trades in Sport Fishing (ICAST), the world’s largest sport fishing trade show, will celebrate its return to an in-person convention in Orlando after going virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic coronavirus.

To say that industry leaders and manufacturers are enthusiastic is an understatement. It’s like someone is carrying Christmas Day back to the world of fishing gear.

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ICAST brings together manufacturers with buyers and sellers of everything in the fishing industry, from rods and reels to hooks and lines to coolers and kayaks to clothing, electronics, accessories, sunglasses, gadgets, gadgets and more. again.

The conference, produced annually by the American Sport Fishing Association, will be at the Orange County Convention Center from July 20 to 23.

“The value of seeing and trying products in real time cannot be overstated,” said Glenn Hughes, president of ASA. “In these contexts, we build relationships, share ideas and work together to improve our industry.”

Some of the numbers expected for the next show this year:

  • 1,300 bought
  • 500 independent retailers
  • 200 wholesalers
  • 42 states represented
  • 14 countries represented

The floor of the convention center will be in turmoil. Millions of dollars in sales will be negotiated. Arrangements will be made to bring the latest innovations in the fishing industry, as well as favorite brands anglers have come to trust and love, to your local bait and tackle store or at your favorite big box outdoor retailer.

The highlight of ICAST each year is the Showcase of new products. Over 1,000 new products submitted by over 300 companies will be on display in 30 categories.

Media and buyers have the first 24 hours to visit the storefront and vote on the best and brightest products for the fishing industry. Exhibitors and company representatives are not allowed to enter the showcase during this period. One product is named “Best in Show” at an awards ceremony on the second night of the conference.

ICAST is a place to network and make sales agreements for the following sales year.  Retail buyers attend the show which restricts admission and sets product orders.  The media are there to tell the fishing consumer what to look for in the months to come.

While winning the award doesn’t necessarily translate into sales, it’s an honor that manufacturers typically hold high and get invaluable social media impressions from influencers and industry representatives.

“With everything we’ve been through in the past year,” said Carey Graves, vice president of sales for reel manufacturer Daiwa, “there’s no better opportunity to reconnect with our customers, friends and representatives of the entire sport fishing industry than at ICAST 2021. “

The blue economy has benefited from the coronavirus pandemic

The recreational fishing industry is well positioned. While the pandemic has delayed several sectors of the US and global economy, recreational fishing has actually benefited. People cured cabin fever by spending more time outdoors and on or near water.

The maritime economy contributed $ 397 billion to the country’s gross domestic product in 2019, according to a report published on June 8 speak US Department of Commerce and the The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The so-called “blue economy” grew 4.2% faster than the 2.2% growth recorded by the entire national economy.

Tourism, recreation and recreational fishing were the largest segment, totaling $ 235 billion. In Florida alone, with over 2,200 miles of tidal coastline and 7,500 lakes and rivers, recreational fishing contributes $ 13.8 billion to the economy.

Technology, social networks and single-use plastic solutions

I will be attending ICAST for the first time since 2017. I can’t wait to walk the aisles of the convention and see what the hundreds of exhibitors are offering.

What I love most is seeing how technology makes fishing a better experience for fishermen. Today’s electronics make those of the 90s look like Stone Age equipment. The coils are made with lighter and more efficient materials resulting in more durable products. The stems are stronger and lighter. The decoys are more realistic.

One issue currently preoccupying business leaders is that of waste from single-use plastics. I will be interested to see what companies are doing to reduce packaging or develop products that are biodegradable and less harmful to the environment.

I’m also interested to see how the social media explosion is used to promote and market products and what the craziest lure a company has devised. I have seen decoys resembling ducks, rats and even spiders so I can only wonder what the next step is.

Will any of these new lures, rods and reels, sunglasses, electronics and gadgets help me catch more fish? I think many of you already know the answer to this question.

Ed Killer is the outside writer for TCPalm. Subscribe to its newsletter and other weekly newsletters on profile.tcpalm.com/newsletters/manage. To interact with Ed, link him to Facebook at Ed killer, follow him on Twitter @tcpalmekiller or email him at [email protected]

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